Whats happens at a Police Station Voluntary Interview? Part 2
Following on from our first post. Available here
You will be cautioned.
"You do not have to say anything".
This means what it says. You do not have to say anything. You do NOT have to speak to the police officer if you do not want to. You can speak to them and answer there questions if you wish. The key thing is you do not have to.You can for instance sit in the interview and say to the police "No comment" to every question you are asked. (You can-not however stop them from interviewing you!)
"But it may harm your defence, if you do not mention when questioned something which you may later rely on in court."
This means if you do not mention in your interview a fact that you could reasonably expected to mention and you rely on later in court i.e. the details of an alibi the court can draw an adverse inference against you. An adverse inference could be, for instance, that the account that you have given at court is a lie.
"Anything you do say may be given in evidence".
This means that the police may either make a transcript of the interview and show it to the court later on or play the recording of the interview at Court.
The police will usually check your understanding of the caution by asking you questions in the interview, for instance, Do you have to speak to us in the interview? What may the court think if you do not speak to us and it could be reasonably expected that you may mention a fact which you later rely on in court? How may the court see what's happened in the interview.
They will do that to ensure that you do not, later on claim, that you did not understand the police caution and the significance of your replies.
"I am investigating an offence of....."
This is the point when they tell you what offence they are investigating and give a brief legal definition of it.
If you have done the sensible thing and opted for a solicitor, or brought your own prior to this, this will not come as a shock! One of the advantages of having a solicitor is, it is the solicitors job, to obtain disclosure of as much evidence as he can from the police officer about the offence or offences prior to the police interview.
If you have no solicitor the police are under no obligation at all to tell you anything prior to the interview as regards the evidence they hold pointing to your involvement with regards to an offence or details of it. They will not usually tell you anything at all if you have no solicitor, but will seek to spring it on you at interview to see your reaction or response.
Instruction of a solicitor prior to any interview will mean the police will have to engage with the solicitor and give him details of the evidence against you. Please note the police do not have to tell your solicitor everything (according to the Court of Appeal) but have to tell them enough so they can advise you whether or not to answer police questions
More coming shortly in part 3 - The Interview....Available soon
If you have a voluntary police interview in England or Wales and want free legal representation either at a voluntary interview or if you have been arrested please contact police station agent on 07535 494446 for free police station representation by Robert Cashman a fully qualified criminal solicitor who works on behalf of Tuckers solicitors. Representation can be by remote attendance if you are outside our local area or in person in Kent and South East London.